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Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Fillmore East January 31st & February 1st 1969

1559From ledzepconcerts.com

Concert Memories :: Led Zeppelin :: January 31, 1969

I was at the famous IB/Led Zep (their debut, of course) show at the Fillmore East in NY. At the time, I was a fairly regular attendee to the Fillmore, and I always collected (and still have) some of their handbills which listed upcoming shows. I don’t recall The Move ever being listed on the bill.

I seem to remember that for a brief time (perhaps in the very first listing of the show) the opening act for IB was listed as the “New Yardbirds” which, of course, was Zeppelin’s early name. After that, the bill listed only Iron Butterfly and Led Zeppelin. Fillmore’s shows were always at 8pm and 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

I know I went to one of the early shows, but I’m not sure which day. I’ve read various reports of the audience walking out after Zeppelin, or IB refusing to go on, but to my knowledge, none of that occurred to the extent it was reported.

At the show I attended, it looked like about 1/3 or less of the audience left before IB came on, most of them slightly older than I was (in 68 I was 15), who no doubt had come just based on the word of mouth about Page’s new band. I think prior to that show, Zeppelin had only played one show in Boston. I hope that helps.
Phillippe LaVere

There were 2 shows each night; 8.30 pm and 11.00 or 11.30 pm, depending on the venue. A typical warm-up act would usually play about 30 min, with a 1 song encore. The main act would usually come on around 9.45 pm and play for 50 min (two 25 min sets, with a 10 min break in between). The Fillmore had a capacity of about 3,000 or so. The first shows on Friday were always about half-full, but the late shows were generally sold-out or 90% full.

Everybody thought Zeppelin was from California. They had no following at all, and Iron Butterfly was big. Both bands were under Atlantic Records, Zeppelin (Atlantic) and Butterfly (ATCO). What I remember is, the first night Friday, both bands played well for the first show. The second show went on around midnight and ended around 2.30 am Though I’m a Zeppelin fan, both bands were pretty equal on the first night. After every late show, most of the fans hung out in front of the Fillmore, waiting for the bands to come out. The Move (a British rock band) though scheduled, did not play.

I’m note sure why, it could have been a better gig or a dispute over fee. Bill Graham was notorious for not paying opening acts. He felt they should be thankful for just being on the bill. Like I said, the first night Zeppelin and Butterfly played equally well.

Paul Ceasare

January 25, 2014 Posted by | Led Zeppelin Concert Memories: Fillmore East January 31st & February 1st 1969 | , | Leave a comment